Joined: 09 November 2005
Online Status: Offline Posts: 23
Posted: 06 November 2006 at 9:30pm | IP Logged
I was thinking the same thing. Sketchy is the word. Don't forget the white
picket fence, and earning more money than your dad did. I think any
veteran of war ( Jake Barnes and his coterie as facsimiles) loses some of the
dream. As one of my favorite poets, Brian Turner, says of it: It should break
your heart to kill. I think in this novel that damaged dream is not strictly
American, but the idea of these veterans hanging out at some flapper
parties back home in St. Paul, MN (or any American city), "searching for a
dewdrop in the dew, searching for a moonbeam in the blue"... is ludicrous. I
think a lot of our returning Iraq vets are feeling that restlessness as well.
What does the dream mean? What is relative?
Joined: 14 August 2005
Online Status: Offline Posts: 547
Posted: 10 November 2006 at 10:05pm | IP Logged
I started writing a much lengthier and detailed response.
To answer your question, you need to study history. The book does not portray the downfall of the American dream. It portrays the downfall of a romantic view of the world, of people and "civil" behavior, and of war.
At 11 a.m. Nov. 11 (tomorrow as I write this), the guns fell silent all across the battlefronts of Europe. That was it. "The World," as T.S. Elliott wrote, "ends not with a bang, but with a whimper." The "War to end all Wars" was over. For about 20 years (another generation, oddly enough).
You want to know the downfall of what it signified? Read Wilfred Owen, and Auden. Read W.S. Maugham (A Razor's Edge), read Lawrence Darrell. And, carefully, read the "sequel," A Farewell To Arms.
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